RED OAK — Ryan’s season came to an end Friday night as a blown 21-point lead and a gutsy 2-point conversion from Red Oak led to a 29-28 loss in overtime.
“We had it covered; they just made a play,” Ryan coach David Henigan said of the final play.
The Raiders (6-4, 6-2) struck first in overtime as Ryan quarterback Khalon Davis hit receiver Jimmie Jones III for an 18-yard touchdown.
However, Red Oak (9-2, 6-2 in District 5A-4) immediately responded to make the score 28-27, with a successful 2-point conversion pass from quarterback Jaylon Robinson ending the Raiders’ brief playoff appearance.
Ryan dominated Red Oak for half of the game. The Raiders were up 21-0 at halftime, and the defense held Red Oak’s offense to 71 yards overall.
Ryan’s offense scored three first-half touchdowns courtesy of Davis’ arm. His touchdown at the beginning of the second quarter was the last time Ryan scored before overtime.
“We thought we had it in the first half, we thought we were going to win the game, but it’s the playoffs,” said Davis, who finished with 153 yards passing and four touchdowns. “Everybody’s going to play hard in the playoffs.”
Coming out of halftime, it seemed that the second half would be similar to the first after a quick three-and-out from the Hawks.
Things quickly went wrong for Ryan, though, with wide receiver Jordyn Bailey fumbling the ensuing punt thanks to a hard hit that sidelined him from the game. Red Oak took advantage with a quick touchdown to cut the lead to 21-7.
The misfortune continued with the turbulent wind striking hard. It caught the following kickoff and floated the ball backward toward Red Oak. The wobbling ball deflected off of Ryan defensive back Chance Rucker and ended up in Red Oak’s possession, leading to yet another touchdown that closed the gap to 21-14.
“We had a couple of crazy kicking and wind things that changed that whole game,” Henigan said. “Credit to Red Oak, they made some plays.”
The Hawks were able to tie the game at the beginning of the fourth, but a stalemate ensued for the rest of the quarter as the teams traded possessions. Ryan had two key fourth-down attempts with 7:26 and 4:07 remaining, but came up short on both.
Overall, it was a story of missed opportunities for the Raiders. Despite the special teams mistakes that kick-started the comeback, Ryan had its chances to win the game in regulation and overtime.
Running back Kalib Hicks finished with 193 yards, two fewer yards than Red Oak had in total offense. Ryan just could not finish it off.
“We had some opportunities, and we didn’t quite capitalize on them,” Henigan said.
With the end of the season, the vision turns to next year’s team, which will face sizable turnover. Ryan is losing plenty of players to graduation, including five-star linebacker Anthony Hill Jr. and Bailey, a three-star wide receiver.
“We have a good core of young kids coming back, but I mean we probably started seven guys on defense that’ll be back,” Henigan said. “Pretty much our whole offense is going to be graduating.”
Davis is one of those seniors who played his last high school football game Friday night. Even though it ended in a loss, the pride he feels in his team cannot be quantified.
“I just love this team, man. I love it with a passion,” Davis said.